Witnessing the Bears' regular-season opener was reminiscent of being in Paris a couple of years ago.
What took me so long in my life to see this?
Like a rube looking up at skyscrapers for the first time, my jaw dropped and eyes gaped and smile widened and goose bumps bumped and heart raced and breath shortened and camera clicked.
Hey, look, the Eiffel Tower! (Click.) Oh, my, the Arc de Triomphe. (Click.) Wow, the Louvre! (Click.)
I know, I know, I wrote just last week that I wouldn't fall for the prospect that new head coach Marc Trestman would provide the Bears with a modern offense.
But that was just my defense mechanism against yet another new coach or coordinator having the potential to disappoint.
Yet here I am, one game into Trestman's tenure, optimistic that sooner or later the Bears will have an actual NFL-worthy offense.
Just as I was just another American hick visiting Paris, I'm just another Chicago hick visiting professional football.
Hey, look, Jay Cutler threw the ball before being sacked! (Click.) Oh, my, the Bears converted third-and-long into a first down! (Click.) Wow, the ball was thrown to someone other than Brandon Marshall! (Click.)
Maybe I should have had a clue this could happen. I was at practice last week when three Bears quarterbacks participated in a passing drill.
Trestman, billed as a registered QB guru, stood about five yards behind them and watched their arm angle, the way they planted their feet, everything they did and everything they didn't do.
That came back to me after the Bears beat the Bengals and Marshall characterized Trestman's offense as science. Here is one way in which the lab translated onto the field against the Bengals.
On third-and-17 at the Cincinnati 30-yard line early in the first quarter, Cutler completed an 18-yard pass to Marshall for a first down.
That was like seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time.
Just think of how often on third down a Bears receiver caught a pass a yard short of the first-down marker.
If that happened this time the Bears would have settled for a field goal. Instead, two plays later Cutler found Martellus Bennett for an 8-yard touchdown.
Did we mention that Bennett is a tight end? How many times in your lifetime have the Bears had anybody trustworthy at that position? Like nearly none?
This time it appeared to be routine for the quarterback to make a nice throw into the end zone and the tight end to make a nice catch for a touchdown.
That was like seeing the Arc de Triomphe for the first time.
So many Bears offenses over so many decades have looked like they were giving birth just to complete a pass like that. Judging by first impressions, this offense has a chance to run plays that NFL winners have been running successfully for generations.
If the Bears ever reach that point it would be like seeing the Louvre for the first time.
But don't forget that the Bears' offense faded after scoring 41 points in last season's opener. As Trestman said Monday, "We're not going to get ahead of ourselves … our feet are on the ground."
One problem is that those feet didn't contribute to an effective running game.
"Our production running the football isn't where we want it to be," Trestman said.
At the risk of being let down after being jacked up, try to imagine a Bears offense in which a running attack balances with a passing game.
It might be like visiting Paris for the first time and having to ask yourself what took so long.